Black Pine Over Snow Closure Order and News Release


For Immediate Release
Contact: 208-423-7500

Julie Thomas, Public Affairs Officer




Black Pine Over Snow Closure Order and News Release


Burley, Idaho

October 28, 2020


 Sawtooth National Forest Supervisor, Jim DeMaagd has terminated Special Order #0414-01-026 effective January 10, 2010. This special order covered restrictions on the Minidoka Ranger District and included exclusion of over snow vehicles on the majority of the western side of Black Pine Mountains as well as excluded bicycling use in Rock Creek Canyon in the Cassia Division and bicycling use on the Independence Lakes trail and in Howell Canyon, both on the Albion Division.


Special Order #0414-01-051 was signed and is now in effect. The order maintains a closure to over snow vehicles in Black Pine, but provides access into the closure area by allowing over snow vehicle use on a 100-foot corridor within the closure area. That corridor has a buffer of 50 feet on each side of the designated Motor Vehicle Use Map roads footprint within the closure. The public is encouraged to reference the new closure area map before heading out to recreate in this area.


 As a reminder, there are still roads in Black Pine that are closed seasonally to motor vehicles from December 1-April 30 each year as shown on the motor vehicle use map (MVUM) available at any of the Sawtooth Forest Service offices.


Special Order #0414-01-026 was terminated based on input from Forest Service staff and interested citizens that the management need for this special order was no longer necessary or relevant to the current management on the Minidoka Ranger District. The new special order #0414-01-051 was signed after consulting with Forest Service staff, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and interested citizens and determined that mule deer winter range protection is still required in the area however access to the area within the closure can be improved while still providing the necessary level of protection to mule deer.


According to Randy Thompson, Minidoka District Ranger, “The public has expressed the desire to access portions of the Black Pine mountains on the west side during the winter months on over snow vehicles for recreational use. After we looked at the area closure and mule deer winter distribution and populations numbers, we determined that improved public access could be accommodated by utilizing over snow vehicle use in road footprints. This provides access to the local communities that expressed a desire to access the upper portions of the west side of the Black Pine Mountains yet still maintains the necessary protections for winter mule deer that are vulnerable to disturbance during the critical winter months.


We want to remind the public to consult the new area closure map and that this change in management does not allow for over snow use throughout the closure area; over snow vehicle use access is limited to the routes that are currently available. The ability of the Forest Service to accommodate this improved access into the future and still provide the necessary protections for mule deer is dependent on the public following the new closure order and the motor vehicle use map.


The Minidoka Ranger District is installing new signing in the closure area to reflect the management change. Both Termination Order #0414-01-026 and Special Order #0414-01-026 are posted on the Sawtooth National Forest webpage and can be viewed by following the link: . For further information please contact the Minidoka Ranger District at 208-678-0430 to inquire about the Order or contact Scott Soletti at 208-678-0430.